What to do about social media?

By Faith Brar

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Photo By: Faith Brar

My parent’s idea of a present on my 13th birthday was to suggest that I apply to 1 of 3 boarding schools they thought would prepare me for college better than any school in our hometown. As you can imagine, it took me a while to get used to the idea, but eventually I succumbed to it and decided to attend Cheltenham Ladies College in the U.K.

Traditional British boarding schools take discipline seriously. Looking back, I remember the most difficult things to get used to included handing my phone in before going to class, planning my homework knowing that the I wouldn’t have access to the internet after 9:30 p.m., and having to add our matrons on Facebook so that they could monitor our social media activities and make sure we were being appropriate.

It made me angry then and it makes me angry now.

Today, the realm of social media is much vaster and it is interesting to see how schools in the U.S. are tackling this “issue”. The Glendale School District in California thinks that spending $40K on a surveillance program, called Geo Listening, to monitor social media activity is the right way to go. The ethical issue raised by this decision is due to the fact that surveillance continues 24/7 as opposed to only taking pace during school hours. According to the district their $40,000 is being well-spent, but I can’t help but wonder how that money could be used for other things, like potentially bettering the schools as a whole and how much cheaper it would be to just leave the monitoring to the parents.
What are your thoughts? Do you think 24/7 monitoring is a little to invasive?

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5 responses to “What to do about social media?

  1. Yes, I do think it is a little invasive. However, I am talking about internet use. There are people who want to do research past the time, and if they are like me, they need a lot of time. I would think the students would wonder which site would be appropriate without raising a red flag, and they would feel pressured.
    Honestly, I don’t have a problem with not having cell phones in class. My high school didn’t allow cell phones in class. I sometimes think Drake shouldn’t allow it either. Well, some teachers do that anyway.
    Anyway, I just think schools need to find a fine line between putting pressure on the student and making sure they are doing the right thing.-Malinda

  2. Yes, I agree with you Faith. Twenty-four hour control on social media is ridiculous. The money could be used for more useful improvements on the school. Schools know media are evolving, along with their students. They don’t know what to do about it, and this is all they could come up with. They may need the feeling they are in control and handling the situation. From a student’s point of view, the school system looks dumb and old-fashioned. They seem ill-equipped and scared. It’s like when elementary schools teach girls and boys about how to handle peer pressure. It doesn’t help at all.

    • I totally agree with you Morgan. I feel like it is way overbearing and wont get the results that it assumes it will. Bullying over social media is definitely a concern in society, but I don’t think this is the way to tackle it.

  3. I agree that monitoring social media 24/7 is too much, but I also believe that we should be putting more effort into educating young students about why our parents and teachers would think this is even necessary in the first place. After they understand how detrimental photos of illegal activity or an unprofessional presence are to their career and future, we can relax knowing they at least understand the consequences. I don’t think heavy monitoring is the answer, and young people are even more apt to rebel if we can’t help them understand how important it is to not reveal too much online.

    • I like your comment about potential rebellious behavior Sami and when I read about this that was one of the things that came to mind. I simply don’t see the positives that could come out of this. I feel like kids who do have the potential of being rebellious could post comments just to catch the attention of the software and would mess with it every chance they get. This would completely defying the purpose of the surveillance because there would be no way to differentiate between which posts are real and which arent.

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